As we head into the winter months and spend more time indoors, it’s vital to get up to date on the seasonal flu vaccine, as well as COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. We’ve pulled together the latest information from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), so you know where, when, and how to get the protection you need to stay healthy.
Before COVID-19, seasonal flu vaccination was the most important annual vaccination for most of us to get. According to the U.S. CDC, flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related provider visits each year. The CDC estimates that from 2019-2020, the flu vaccination prevented 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.
The U.S. and Maine CDCs recommend that people six months and older get an annual flu vaccine as early in the fall as possible. If you haven’t already done so, call your primary care provider (PCP) or your local pharmacy to schedule your flu vaccination today. The good news is that Health Options makes the flu vaccine available at $0 cost-share to Members, and you can receive a flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 shot if you still need one.
Also, COVID-19 boosters are available to everyone aged 18 and older – just in time for holiday gatherings. The latest (CDC) booster recommendations are:
You can get your booster shot anywhere that provides the COVID-19 vaccine. You may hear directly from your healthcare provider about getting a booster, or you may contact the locations linked below for an appointment. Many locations also offer drop-in vaccinations with no appointment necessary.
For a final piece of vaccination news, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available for individuals aged 5 and older throughout Maine. As the Delta variant continues to be a prominent strain, vaccination is the safest way to protect against severe illness in children and adults.
It’s also important to continue protecting unvaccinated children ages two and older, who should wear a mask in public spaces and around people with whom they do not live.
If you need help scheduling an appointment, or want to know if a site near you offers vaccinations without an appointment, call the Maine COVID-19 Community Vaccination Line at (888) 445-4111. You may also search for COVID-19 vaccine availability here: Maine vaccination sites.
Your health, well-being, and safety are our priorities. Please call our Member Services at (855) 624-6463 for more information about vaccines and other preventive care benefits.
Knowing what your health care plan can do for you is one important part of maintaining your best health, and your Member ID Card is an excellent place to start. First, at the bottom of your card is the name of your plan. If you have the word “Tiered” in your plan, this means you are part of our tiered provider network option and could save money on provider visits.
Tiered provider networks give consumers a better way to consider the cost of care when choosing care options and therefore save money on healthcare costs. Our tiered network plans reduce cost-sharing for specific benefits and services received from a preferred network provider. Types of providers and services include hospital outpatient services, primary care, urgent care centers, imaging centers, and labs.
Preferred providers and facilities for these plans are noted with a preferred star icon in the Health Options Provider Directory at https://lookup.healthoptions.org/. Please note that some services may not be covered at the preferred service rate when administered in non-preferred settings. Therefore, it is important to visit the specific location listed in the search results to take advantage of the preferred rate.
Preferred locations for hospital outpatient services are limited to outpatient surgery and other outpatient procedures (such as catheterization, joint arthroscopy, or colonoscopy), including anesthesia.
It’s important to note: Even if you have a tiered network plan, you always have the option to visit our standard network providers with a standard co-pay. If you have questions about tiered network plans, contact our Member Services team at (855) 624-6463.
The bottom line is, with our robust NE Network and our new tiered network, you are very well covered!